Chile + Patagonia

  • Santiago
  • Casablanca
  • Colchagua
  • Rio Colchagua
  • Laura Hartwig winery
  • Lajuela Pass
  • Rio Nerquihue
  • Cerro San Cristobal
  • Cerro Santa Lucia
  • Lago Grey


March 6 - 18, 2024


  • Outstanding accommodations: high-standard hospitality and stunning locations
  • Culinary masterpieces: local wines from some of the world’s top producers paired with outstanding local dining
  • Immersion in local history: outstanding museums, scenic countryside and coastal drives, the legacy of Pablo Neruda (the “world’s poet”), and lovely architecture
  • Guided exploration of Patagonia: opportunities to explore Lago Grey by catamaran (a large luxury boat), hikes / walks to vistas, and viewing unique flora / fauna

Trip Description

Ahhh, this is the perfect trip. We’ll enjoy multiple nights in two of Chile’s premier wine-producing regions, lodging in two distinct hotels—one known for recapturing the refinement of its historic estate and the other nestled in a mountain-ringed valley. They are casual in style with a swimming pool this way, an easy walk to a great local restaurant that way, and the Laura Hartwig Winery just through the field and gate.  After visiting these two distinguished places (Casablanca and Colchagua), we will retreat to the sunny and unique Santiago. Then we fly south—all the way south—to the world’s foremost name in outdoor, natural drama: Patagonia.  There, we’ll spend three nights on Lago Grey (at the Lago Grey Hotel); explore the serene beauty of the Torres del Paine and its soaring peaks, lakes, glaciers, and wildlife; and benefit from guided excursions and well-prepared meals.  We’ll live it!


Wednesday, March 6

Ready for an austral adventure? Put on your seatbelt… we’re flying to the southern hemisphere!

Thursday, March 7

Arrival in Santiago, in Chile’s center. We’ll transfer to our comfortable rented van, then drive to Casablanca. Casablanca is a plateau region, halfway between Santiago and the Pacific Ocean, renowned for a microclimate that favors sauvignon blanc and chardonnay grapes. Large wineries thrive – often striking dramatic poses in the semi-mountainous landscapes. We’ll stop for a delicious lunch as we drive the main road bisecting Casablanca. And then we’ll detour to beautiful Matetic Vineyards – home for our first two nights in Chile – built around a circa 1900 hacienda, called La Casona. Rest and relax, upon arrival. You’re in a world where human inhabitants have danced a close embrace with the land around them for millenia. You can still feel that.

Dinner and overnight, La Casona de Matetic.

Friday, March 8

Sleep in as you wish this morning. We’ll awake in what is normally a dry summer world, blue sky and sunshine bringing in the new day. Enjoy a delicious breakfast in our garden-like setting.

Today, we’ll explore Matetic – partly in group activities; and partly exactly as you may choose. We’ll hear the stories about the immigration of the first Matetic family from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 1890’s; we’ll examine the craftsmanship and rich patina of La Casona, built around 1900. We’ll tour the gardens and vineyards. We’ll also taste wine and enjoy lunch, in lovely open-air space.

In the afternoon, enjoy any of the following: hiking or horseback riding on the property; a swim, or simply lounging by the pool; a walk in the gardens.

Dinner and overnight, La Casona de Matetic.

Saturday, March 9

We’ll drag ourselves away from our beautiful vineyard-home, making our way to the nearby Pacific coast. We’ll pay a visit to one of three Chilean homes owned by “the people’s poet,” Pablo Neruda – this one called Isla Negra, “the Black Island.” Neruda was Chile’s national hero in the mid-20th century; a world-renowned “face” of Chile’s liberalism… when the military seized power in 1973. We’ll learn more about this startling and sobering story on several locations in Chile.

Our driving route will take us south – a lovely ramble stretching from the coast, into the beautiful mountain-ringed valley of the Rio Colchagua. There, outside of the town of Santa Cruz, we’ll say hello to the Hotel TerraViña – modestly tucked into the surrounding vines; centered around the inviting pool. This is home for the next three nights.

How about a walk to the Laura Hartwig winery, just through the hedge there? Enjoy a glass of wine, or a short ride on the horse-drawn carriage. This evening, we’ll walk 200 meters along an enchanting country road to dinner at Casa Colchagua. Overnight, in the Colchagua Valley.

Sunday, March 10

After breakfast, we’ll take a lovely drive up and over the nearby Lajuela Pass, descending into the neighboring valley of the Rio Nerquihue – mostly removed from its natural channel to supply the vast farms of the semi-arid valley floor. Here, we’ll find two treasures of the region: the Santa Cruz Winery (and, odd as the juxtaposition might seem – the Santa Cruz Automobile Museum… together on the same estate); and the colonial village of Lolol.

Magnificent views… many “I could live here” moments; and of course, gracious hosts, as we tour the valley, and enjoy lunch on the plaza in Old Lolol.

In the afternoon, we’ll reverse our “up and over” from the morning. Back at the TerraViña, options await. Relax, enjoy the pool, go for a stroll, walk to the nearby Laura Hartwig winery. Dinner will be on your own, at the Restaurante Los Poetas, in the TerraViña.

For those who are in the mood to visit one of the Colchagua Valley’s top wineries (and most emblematic architectural pieces), let’s go to the Clos Apalta. Story, views, tasting. ‘Nough said.

Overnight, in the Colchagua Valley.

Monday, March 11

Breakfast in the TerraViña.

Today, we’ll explore the town of Santa Cruz, built around a traditional square. It’s a “provincial town;” a hub for local trade and shopping. It’s also the home to one of the world’s most surprising museums: El Museo de Colchagua. The mastermind behind the museum… and behind the Santa Cruz winery and automobile museum is the controversial figure, Carlos Cardoen. We’ll hear about the shadowy stories; and we’ll also hear about Cardoen – the man who brought wine and tourists to the Colchagua Valley. (clink of wine glasses)

After enjoying exhibits covering ancient and more recent South American stories (including the amazing 2010 rescue of 33 trapped miners), we’ll drive into the magnificent corner of La Quebrada de Colchagua, that’s home to Clos Apalta . . . and Montes (winery) – our destination.

If sitting under a shaded canopy, completely surrounded by grapes on the vine, in an air temperature of 78 degrees, enjoying a gourmet lunch offered by a sommelier “sounds like a plan” to you… then I vote “yes.” Welcome to the Restaurante Fuegos de Apalta, in the midst of the vines at Montes Winery.

Later, back at the TerraViña, enjoy the pool and some R & R. Have a light dinner (as you may wish) nearby; overnight, in the Colchagua Valley.

Tuesday, March 12

We’ll say adios to our new friends in Santa Cruz. Then we begin our drive into Chile’s Central Valley, and make our way north to Santiago.

We’ll arrive at the lovely Hotel Cumbres Lastarria – in the cool, vibrant Lastarria neighborhood. We can stow our luggage at the hotel, while we have a bite to eat nearby. In the afternoon, we’ll enjoy a visit of Neruda’s La Chascona / Santiago residence. It’s a fascinating house tour, that traces the international relationships that Neruda forged, his travels in South America, and the adulation that the world of artists, writers, and musicians held for him.

Nearby, we’ll take the funicular to the top of Cerro San Cristobal: views stretch to every corner of sprawling Santiago, and to los Andes, the Western Hemisphere’s highest mountains, to the East.

This evening, relax over a local beverage, a delicious meal, and plenty of stories and experiences to regale. Overnight, Santiago.

Wednesday, March 13

Today is a full day in Santiago. Enjoy a mixture of group activities, and free time.

Our primary group activity will consist of a tour of the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, which showcases the dramatic military coup of the early 1970’s, and the nightmare of the era of los desaparecidos (“the disappeared / the murdered ones”) in the 20 ensuing years.

You can also spend time taking in Santiago’s lovely mid-20th century architecture; the Plaza de Armas, and the Presidential Palace; enjoying the boutiques of our Lastarria neighborhood; and a stroll in our local park, straddling the shoulders of Cerro Santa Lucia.

Dinner and overnight, Santiago.

Thursday, March 14

Ready for another great adventure?!  Today is the day.

After a hearty breakfast, we’ll shuttle to the Benitez Airport for our flight to Puerto Natales, in Chile’s extreme south.  Upon arrival at the airport, we’ll be met by our driver and vehicle to drive us 90 minutes into the Andean wilderness.  Our destination:  the Lago Grey Hotel, perched on Lago Grey – with views directly to one of the most inspiring pictures in the world, the peaks of the Torres del Paine.

Welcome to Patagonia.

During our three-night stay at the Lago Grey Hotel, enjoy all meals, house beverages, and your choice of excursions every day.

[Guided excursions include:  Lake cruise aboard the vessel Grey III to Grey GlacierAndean Condor observation (the Andean Condor is the largest bird of prey in the world); guided hikes of various lengths, to points-of-view – including views of the famous “horns” of the peaks of Paine; waterfalls; and featuring unique flora and fauna.]

Dinner and overnight, Patagonia.

Friday, March 15

Breakfast at the Lago Grey Hotel.  Your choice of activities.

Dinner and overnight, Patagonia.

Saturday, March 16

Breakfast at the Lago Grey Hotel.  Your choice of activities.

Dinner and overnight, Patagonia.

Sunday, March 17

Today, we’ll embrace our new adventure-bonded friends from the southside of the planet, then shuttle back to places more familiar.  Our flight will take us first to Santiago’s Benitez Airport, where we’ll catch an overnight flight back to the U.S., arriving home on March 18th. Cheers!

Featured Experiences

Hotel TerraViña

A boutique hotel amongst vineyards
With the Andes Mountains as a backdrop, Hotel TerraViña is a place of peace and rest in the heart of the Colchagua Valley. Surrounded by our own vineyards, each of our nineteen rooms offers panoramic balcony views and modern amenities.
From our legendary breakfast buffet to the Danish bed linens, our staff is ready to help make your stay magical.

Hotel Cumbres Lastarria

This boutique hotel with its modern design is located in one the capital’s Bohemian districts whose wide-open spaces vibrate to the rhythms of the city. The Cumbres Lastarria was built with modern architecture in mind, located at a privileged spot in the heart of a thriving and bewitching district, famous for its cultural history, museums, shops and restaurants. It is the perfect place to get to know and enjoy the attractive cultural life and gastronomy that is the hallmark of this sector of the city.

Hotel Lago Grey

Located on Grey Lake, surrounded by a crystalline glacier, granite mountains peaks, forests, and rivers, this hotel is the ideal location for a Torres del Paine National Park getaway. The whole family will enjoy a variety of services and facilities, available at any time of the year. Your adventure in this beautiful corner of the Chilean Patagonia will be unforgettable!

What's Included

  • Comfortable ground transportation and flight from Santiago to Patagonia (roundtrip)
  • Accommodation for 10 nights in high-standard inns
  • Breakfast, 7 lunches, and 6 dinners with wine
  • All activities / admissions per the itinerary
  • Guide and concierge service throughout the trip

Trip Price

$9,789 / person (double occupancy; single supplement, $2,715)

What's Not Included

Price does not include international flight (US - Chile), other alcohol, other meals, or trip insurance (recommended).

I highly recommend Explore Up Close. Not only did we enjoy some beautiful cities and landscapes, we learned so much history. They are memory makers!
If you want first-class service within a small group of traveling companions that you can really get to know, then definitely consider Explore Up Close.

Trip insurance safeguards your travel investment, your belongings, and most importantly, you. Trip insurance is required for all international trips, in the event you have to cancel or leave a trip for any reason. Please note, all trip participants should wait for confirmation from Explore Up Close that the trip has the minimum sign-up required to be a “go” before purchasing travel insurance or airline tickets. Please confirm with Explore Up Close before making any additional travel arrangements.

Once you have received confirmation from Explore Up Close, we recommend contacting a travel insurance provider directly to request a quote and compare pricing and features. You can find other providers that may fit your needs at, or we can gladly connect you with our travel agent.

Please note, all trip participants should wait for confirmation from Explore Up Close that the trip has the minimum sign-up required to be a “go” before purchasing airline tickets.

Explore Up Close will provide a recommended flight itinerary for your consideration, which is intended as a helpful suggestion. We encourage travelers to choose airfare depending on their personal preferences, as some travelers may prefer to travel independently and meet at our destination, or may wish to extend their travels at the beginning or end of the trip. Our travel agent is available to assist you with booking flights and trip insurance.

Again, please confirm with Explore Up Close before purchasing your airline tickets or making additional travel arrangements!

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